By now, the dust has settled on the 2021 regular season. The final outcome, while somewhat expected, was disappointing for the Texas Rangers, and their fan base. The Rangers finished the season with a record of 60–102. This resulted in a last-place finish in the AL West, putting them 35 games out of first. This was a year that saw the Rangers become the first team in the majors to open their gates to full capacity crowds following the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the rebuild label looming over this 2021 campaign, the Rangers were still hoping to ignite a spark of respectability in their new ballpark with fans in the stands. 60 wins will have to suffice, however, until they take on the New York Yankees in their season opener on March 31st at Globe Life Field.
The Texas Rangers dealt with a laundry list of injuries in 2021. They essentially date back to March. Closer candidates Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez promptly went down with elbow injuries. Both of them opted to undergo Tommy John surgery. The recovery timetable puts them both on pace to be ready for the 2022 season. This turn of events forced righty Ian Kennedy into the closer’s role. Kennedy did well shutting the door for the Rangers in 32 games. He compiled an earned run average of 2.51, struck out 35, and walked seven. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies mid-season.
Fellow bullpen arm John King also went down with shoulder issues. That was a shame, considering how well King was throwing for the Rangers down the stretch in 2021. He went 7–5 with an earned run average of 3.52 in 27 games. In 46 innings this year, King had 40 strikeouts and 12 walks. Unfortunately, he was placed on the 60-day injured list on August 20th with left shoulder inflammation.
The bullpen did what they could to back up a floundering starting rotation. Hopefully the Rangers will address that need in the offseason. It would be nice for them to find the next Lance Lynn.
Strong Rookie Year
This year saw fan-favorite Joey Gallo get traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Fans didn’t know what to make of the trade. Gallo had been a mainstay in Arlington for the past five years. He was a fixture in their lineup with his power bat. Fortunately, the Rangers still had the bat of rookie outfielder Adolis Garcia. Even before the Gallo trade, he had already made an impact on the Texas Rangers’ offense. In his freshman season, Garcia hit .243. The Rangers don’t really pay him for his average, however. They had him in the lineup for his power. He hit 31 home runs on the year. A good number of them came late in games and kept the home nine within shouting distance of the lead on numerous occasions. Garcia also drove in 90 runs, and he stole 16 bases.
He should at least be in the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year honors. He put together quite a season and gave fans a reason to be excited. Now that 2021 is in the books, they’ll have to wait until spring training begins in February to see what the next year has in store for the Texas Rangers.
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